Decent Night's Exercise

There was no drama heading into the Gator season opener with Charleston Southern and there was no drama during the evening in Gainesville either. The Buccaneers were overmatched (get used to that phrase Tampa Bay fans) from the get go and while they had a handful of decent plays it wasn't so much a game as a workout.

Tim Tebow, of course took it very seriously and was outstanding as we've come to expect. His numbers weren't dazzling because Deonte Thompson dropped a sure 67-yard touchdown pass and a swing pass to Brandon James for 26 more was later ruled a lateral making it running yards instead. Still Tebow ran and threw for a score and the folks that vote on end of the year awards will probably reward him for not fattening up on this sacrificial lamb. The Gators probably could have run for 500-plus yards had they chosen to, but instead mixed it up and played a lot of guys. That was the right thing to do, but it's always going to cut into the numbers.

Defensively there was little to get excited about. Florida didn't play with a ton of passion. There was little push from the tackles early on until Jaye Howard made a pair of really nice plays back to back early in the second quarter. The secondary played quite soft and even All American candidate Joe Haden seemed a step slow.

Of course this defensive unit is almost certainly not the one which Tennessee and others will have to contend with. Lawrence Marsh, Jermaine Cunningham and Janoris Jenkins did not play. Brandon Spikes and Brandon Hicks played very little and Ahmad Black, troubled by a tender groin saw spotty duty.

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Games like this drive me nuts because I'm not sure you can even trust what you see considering the talent gap. That said, let's pick out a few things.

** Riley Cooper was really something to watch as a receiver and blocker. Watching him run down Brandon James on his kick return was something special. I'm not sure I needed to see his pre-game meal, but things happen.

** Jeffrey Demps is going to run for 1,000 yards. He doesn't have a great wiggle, but he is strong and fast and fast and strong.

** That TD catch in the third quarter could do a world of good for Justin Williams. He's a talented kid who has struggled to get into the rotation but a text book slant route and perfect throw from Johnny Brantley got him into the end zone for the first time as a Gator.

** Jonathan Phillips is spending way too much time on Law School. That mixed extra point could have been important…. of course I'm kidding.

** Caleb Sturgis opening up with a kickoff out of bounds wasn't ideal. I mean the field is 160 feet wide. Even I can hit that fairway.

** NFL scouts have to be drooling over Aaron Hernandez. He's a beast.

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I had planned all along to write how the game with Troy would be a much more significant test. Then Troy went out and lost to Bowling Green by the score of 31-14 despite scoring the game's first two touchdowns. Troy will be better than Charleston Southern, but not nearly as much as I originally thought they'd be.

I also think night games in September are a wonderful thing. I will repeat that sentiment next Saturday with the 12:21 kickoff. We might as well start rooting for a tropical storm now.


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